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Family Business Roundup: Toyota, Heineken, and Jaguar Land Rover

By Michael Finnigan

Toyota sells part of its Tesla stake; Heineken blames wet summer on sales washout; and Jaguar Land Rover opens £1 billion China plant

Toyota sells part of its Tesla stake

Toyota Motor Corp, owned by the Toyoda family, has sold part of its stake in US carmaker Tesla, as it bets on fuel cell vehicles to drive growth.

The Japanese automobile group declined to disclose the size of its current holdings, but according to Bloomberg, the family-run firm held a 2.4% stake as of March 21, which they valued at $690 million.

Toyota originally invested $50 million in Tesla, the Californian electric carmaker led by Elon Musk, for what was then a 3.2% stake.

For the 2013 financial year Toyota saw revenues of 22.1 trillion yen (€167 billion).

Heineken blames wet summer on sales washout

Netherlands-based Heineken, the third largest beer maker in the world, has reported lower than expected sales in its third quarter, saying that Europeans drank less during the wet summer.

However, the Dutch brewer, controlled by the Heineken family, said it was still on track to meet its targets thanks to a strong first half and cost cutting in large markets.

"Amidst a volatile global environment and poor weather during the high selling season in Europe, we maintained top-line growth," said Heineken chairman Jean-Francois van Boxmeer.

Heineken was founded in 1864 in Amsterdam by Gerard Adriaan Heineken. Today it has operations in more than 70 countries and sells around 170 different brands of beer.

The company had 2013 annual revenues of €19.2 billion.

Jaguar Land Rover opens £1 billion China plant

Family-owned carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has opened its first factory in China where it will produce up to 130,000 vehicles per year.

The new Changshu factory near Shanghai will allow the luxury carmaker, owned by Indian automotive company Tata Motors, to improve their sales growth, which has reportedly halved in the last year.

By producing locally, the carmaker hopes to avoid heavy import duties and to price their cars more competitively. The Chinese market is currently dominated by German brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Last year, Jaguar Land Rover sold more than 100,000 vehicles in China, more than 30% than the year before, making it the most important region for Tata motors.

The Tata Group purchased Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in 2008 for $2.3 billion.

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